Monday 31 December 2012
Highlights: School bus transportation, New Year’s Eve
A big day of taxis, buses and boats on a major travelling day that ended up with me on the Caribbean Island of Caye Caulker, a part of Belize.
At 5.45 am my group of travellers set off by foot from our hotel in Playa de Carmen, Mexico to the local bus station. We were travelling the first 4 hours on a very comfortable private bus. We later learnt how comfortable by a comparison with public buses.
A stop in Chetzumal saw us off the private bus with a taxi ride then dropping us at a chaotic local market full of people and trading.
From this market we boarded a more basic public bus, more like an old school bus you see in USA movies. We bought our bags onto the bus and packed them onto the last row for protection.
They served beer on this particular bus at different times as a revenue earner for the staff. It was also required some of us to stand at various points. Andrea explained that the bus only had a loose time schedule which was less a guide and more an informed guess. Welcome to the real Central America travel 🙂
The moment we crossed the border into Belize you could tell the difference. Belize is an English speaking country and all the signs and advertisements bought that home. The border control officers were also easier to deal with given there was no language barrier for me.
To get to the island of Caye Caulker we caught a boat from Belize City, the capital of the country which is home to around 70,000 people. On arrival at the dock it was a short walk to our hotel.
Andrea had organised a restaurant with a buffet dinner costing $15 USD. In Belize you can use either Belize dollars or US dollars with one USD worth two Belize dollars, change is give in local currency. This gave me a chance to use my emergency USD funds on the island.
At dinner we booked our options for our stay of the island, I immediately selected the snorkelling in two days time to spend more time in Caribbean ocean after positive experience in Cuba.
For New Year’s Eve we headed down to the happening place on this small island The Split. This bar is so name as it ‘split’ from Caye Caulker a few years ago. We all got into the spirit of the New Year’s Eve night, the girls in particular. Stephen was given a friendly push into the water by Josie at one point as well.
The fireworks at midnight were great for the location, and around 20 seconds into the new year we got a very brief shower of 5 or so seconds which I thought was great timing given how hot it was celebrating 😉